A Japanese Airliner crew recently observed a strange set of clouds over the Sea of Okhotsk. This type of cloud formation occurs very rarely.
The clouds were observed on June 18, 2007 from a Japan Coast Guard aircraft just off the northeastern coast of Hokkaido. The clouds seem to form parallel channels like rice fields.
Scientists at the Sapporo Meteorological Observatory say these clouds are known as stratocumulus clouds, which roll into long, distinctive ribbons after becoming trapped in air currents over the area.
Clouds get different shapes because of wind patterns, but the occurrence of the stratocumulus clouds is however very rare in nature and it depends on a number of factors.